James Sinegal former CEO of Costco said he did not care about Wall Street analysts who had criticized him for putting good treatment of employees and customers ahead of pleasing shareholders. A favorite quote attributed to Sinegal is “you have to take the shit with the sugar
James D. Sinegal (born January 1, 1936) is the co-founder and former CEO of Costco, an international retail chain.
In an interview published in the Houston Chronicle on July 17, 2005, he told Steven Greenhouse that he did not care about Wall Street analysts who had criticized him for putting good treatment of employees and customers ahead of pleasing shareholders. Investors might want higher earnings, but Sinegal stated, “We want to build a company that will still be here 50 and 60 years from now.” A favorite quote attributed to Sinegal, in part about his philosophy on dealing with success, is, “you have to take the shit with the sugar”. Investors who bought $10,000 of Costco stock in 1992 found it worth $43,564 just ten years later (a return of 354% [15.855%, annually]). A 2012 CNBC documentary stated that from 1985 until Sinegal’s retirement, the stock’s value had increased by five thousand percent. Costco’s two highest-sales years to date, were Sinegal’s final two years as CEO.
In 2009, Mr. Sinegal was considered one of “The TopGun CEOs” by Brendan Wood International, an advisory agency.